Local Sydney artist S.Kape is delivering some new vibes to the Australian Hip-Hop music scene. The MC has managed to incorporate a rich, eclectic sound that harkens back to the 80’s grime of Hip-Hop in New York and also the manic freestyle of jazz. Just look to his tracks Nothing to Lose and Anti-Climax, you can hear the strong influence of jazz spilling forth.
S.Kape brings his sociopolitical bite to the hip-hop game with plenty of fair. With tracks like Sherlock, he’s bringing hip-hop back to his roots.
S.Kape’s latest effort is Sherlock. Starting off with a haunting drum pad echo as the spine of a distorted, yelling voice, you wonder if this is actually a soundtrack to a horror movie. Pretty soon though, the distortion lifts and you can hear S.Kape’s real voice, and you feel a bit less scared as you realise the voice is indeed human. A change in tempo and instruments quickly changes the face of the track, the final minute of the song introduces the ever-alluring buzz of the saxophone, and now you’re in a Jazz club that’s dabbling in musical fusion.
S.Kape has a talent for truly giving his listeners a unique Hip Hop experience. Not only in his mix of classical music and modern DJing, but in his lyrical content. Anti-Climax explores heavy topics, such as political issues with the construction of the legal, educational and religious systems.
S.Kape explores how he feels as though all of these institutions are designed to trap whomever walks in to them, unless they adhere to a set of strict rules; “Embrace spirituality but I’m far from Christianity / We’re made from the same elements of the earth but the church says you will go to hell / The state says you will go to jail / The school says you will fail.”
He brings something for the listener to consider, and the music always compliments the tone and content of his lyrics. Political issues in Hip-Hop is not unheard of, it is the very reason for Hip-Hop’s birth. The genre was a way for marginalised groups to voice their concerns and rebel against authority while still being within the boundaries of the law. However, much of mainstream Hip-Hop has tapered off from this focus in recent years, with its content being on more trivial subjects such as sex, drugs and alcohol.
The MC offers listeners an opportunity to look in to their own belief systems and values without simultaneously tearing down another group. Hip-Hop is controversial for its often misogynistic, trans-phobic and homophobic content, but S.Kape is meticulously balancing on the line of stating how he feels, saying “there is a problem with this” without making already marginalised groups more isolated. He simply gives the listener something to consider, rather than state “this is fact and it cannot be contested”.
S.Kape is intelligent, and is using those smarts to bring his listeners multiple different experiences at once. His songs leave you questioning what you thought Hip-Hop had to be, or what you thought the meaning of the judicial system was, or both. Listen to his tunes, and you be the judge. One thing is for certain, however. Sherlock leaves you with one, burning question: where is his bag?